Animal scientist and autistic expert Temple Grandin, whose life story put to film recently won five Emmy awards, will be speaking Sept. 15 at Oklahoma State University.

“Interest has been so high that we’ve had to change the venue to Gallagher-Iba Arena to ensure everyone who wants to can attend,” said Robert E. Whitson, vice president, dean and director of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

Grandin’s special seminar will take place at 2 p.m. in OSU’s historic arena, located on Hall of Fame Avenue next to Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater. The seminar is free and open to the public.

A professor of animal science at Colorado State University, Grandin said she enjoys helping people – and especially students – better understand animal behavior and best management practices relative to animal handling.

Animal welfare

“I will be talking about animal welfare, animal auditing, animal measurement, animal behavior, cattle handling and how autism helps with animal behavior,” she said.

The division’s department of animal science is sponsoring the event.

Steve Damron, OSU professor of animal production, is pleased that the seminar will bring one of the most celebrated and influential scientists of this time to campus.

“Students, faculty, staff and ranchers will have the opportunity to interact with the person who initiated major paradigm shifts in both animal handling and the world’s view of autism and autistics,” he said. “What a priceless experience.”

In addition, Ron Kensinger, head of the department of animal science, will discuss a new endowed chair to be housed in animal science named in honor of Grandin. The seminar will kick off the campaign to raise money for the Temple Grandin Endowed Chair in Animal Behavior and Well-Being.

Role model

“Her life story has inspired many in terms of her ability to overcome obstacles,” Kensinger said. “Her career-long accomplishments are a perfect illustration of how fundamental research may one day lead to tremendous practical advances. We are privileged to have friends who recognize the value of naming an endowed chair in animal behavior and well-being in Dr. Grandin’s honor.”

Widely recognized as the most accomplished and well-known adult with autism in the world, Grandin was diagnosed with autism in 1950. She credits her family’s timely interaction to her special needs for her professional success later in life.

Grandin received her Bachelor or Arts degree at Franklin Pierce College, her Master of Science degree in animal science at Arizona State University and her doctorate degree in animal science from the University of Illinois.

She began her career working for Corral Industries in Phoenix designing equipment for its plants and then went on to start her own company, Grandin Livestock Handling Systems in 1975. During the next two decades, she became an expert in animal handling in slaughterhouses and one of the most respected names in her field. She also has developed an objective scoring system for assessing handling of cattle and pigs at meat plants.

This year, Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people, and in July, Grandin received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.

For more information about the seminar, please call Debra Danley at 405-744-6070 or e-mail debra.danley@okstate.edu.

“The opportunity to bring Dr. Grandin to campus and share her work with the Oklahoma State University community is wonderful,” Kensinger said. “Grandin-designed animal handling facilities are known to reduce stress on animals, and are the benchmark for the livestock industries. She taught us important lessons in how we should interact with animals today.”